New Socket 7 Motherboards - July 1997

FIC PA-2007

The new number one amongst the Socket 7 boards is called PA-2007 and is manufactured by FIC . This board is using the VIA Apollo VP2 chipset, also known as Eteq, PC Chips or AMD 640 chipset. It supports SDRAM and Ultra DMA just as well as its TX chipset competitors, but its big advantage is the 1 MB onboard level 2 cache, which is mainly responsible for its excellent Win95 and especially NT performance. The only thing I have to criticise is the fact that this is a Baby AT board and there isn't any ATX version with 1 MB cache out yet. Due to its VIA Apollo VP2 chipset it also supports linear burst for Cyrix/IBM CPUs, so that this bord is a double win for every Cyrix/IBM CPU user, since it's not only the fastest Socket 7 board anyhow, it even speeds up your 6x86 or 6x86MX CPU by another 1.5 to 2%. Using switching voltage regulator.

As if we wouldn't have expected it, in the 6x86MX test the PA-2007 could even extend its lead over all the other socket 7 boards due to its linear burst support. The board runs stable at 75 MHz and the linear burst in combination with 1 MB level 2 cache makes it the only really cool choice for Cyrix/IBM CPU owners. What a shame that it doesn't support 83 MHz bus speed!!!

BGA chip of the VIA Apollo VP2 in the background.

FIC PA-2010+

The PA-2010+ is using the VIA Apollo VPX chipset, the newer version of the Apollo VP1. This chipset wasn't a too good performer in the past, but now it does pretty well. However it's still not fast enough to avoid the last place in this comparison from the performance point of view. This board also supports linear burst, so 6x86 users might consider buying it.

Indeed the linear burst option of the PA-2010+ could get it closer to the rest of the field, however even in the 6x86MX test it could get rid of the last place of all the boards that actually ran the test. Nevertheless the PA-2010+ combined with a Cyrix/IBM CPU is not far at all from the competitors and it offers 83 MHz bus speed!

FIC PA-2011

The PA-2011 in the revision that I got comes only with 512 kB level 2 cache and without any COAST socket as the previous version that was shipped in AMD's K6 hot boxes. Due to this fact it can't reach the performance of its brother PA-2007. It also uses the VIA Apollo VP2 chipset and also supports linear burst. This board is certainly not bad at ll, but you wonder why FIC wasn't putting 1 MB level 2 cache on this ATX board as it did on the PA-2007. Switching voltage regulator.

The linear burst support of the PA-2011 could help giving this board a better placement under Windows 95 when tested with the 6x86MX. However the 512kB L2 cache are just too little to compete against Intel's TX chipset under Windows NT. No 83 MHz support.

Although the PA-2011 is considerably larger than the PA-2007, FIC's engineers could only find enough space for two L2 cache chip, therefore only 512 kB L2 cache. In the background on the right you can see the switching voltage regulator.